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If the flag could speak
Veterans salute as Taps is played by Erich Zurhorst of the Mountain Valley High School band during Monday's Memorial Day ceremony. (Times photo by Bruce Farrin)
Among those in Monday's Memorial Day parade were Emily Carver (left) and Aiden Gordon, sitting on the back on an ATV. (Times photo by Bruce Farrin)
RUMFORD/MEXICO -- On Monday, members of Napoleon Ouellette Post 24 American Legion will observe Memorial Day with a parade and ceremonies at the Rotary Memorial Green in Rumford and at the Memorial Green in Mexico.
"The freedom we hold dear has been continually defended with courage, faith and loyalty. While Memorial Day honors those who fell in battle, it is a day to cherish that symbol under which they fought and died," noted Jeri Brooks Greenwell of Bethel, Past National Chaplain for the American Legion Auxiliary.
As the guest speaker of the Rumford portion, Greenwell noted, "If the flag could speak, it would tell about the men and women throughout the wars and conflicts, of the extreme cold and heat, battle, suffering, bravery and self-confidence. It would tell of the faces, each and every one. It would tell of the sacred obligation and the duties of all Americans to remember, because without all these young Americans throughout our history, the flag would stand for nothing."
"There would be no America, no democratic ideas and no need for a flag to be our symbol. For whenever you see the flag, take a good look at it and remember those for whom it stands. Those who answered their country's call and placed themselves in harm's way, who put the welfare of others ahead of their own, who placed duty ahead of personal interest, our heroes, America's heroes," she said.
"On this day, let us remember these men and women that made it possible for our young people, as a new generation, to find all the opportunities and hopes that a free society offers us all. This is not to suggest that our society is perfect. It is not. But each of us must work to achieve its greatest promise," said Greenwell.
"All that we achieved as a nation and a society will depend upon the value with which each of us places on freedom. Let us honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice by preserving the legacy each has left. Preserve our freedom and the service of God, family and country," she said.
Recognized with applause was the parade marshal, Al Richard, 90, a veteran of World War II.
A contingent of scouts, Explorers, veterans groups and the GRCC gymnastics team were among those participating, as well as the Mountain Valley High School band and majorettes. The Apostolic Church and the Rumford Quilters were among those creating floats. There were also a large contingent representing the Roxbury ATV Club and the Legion Riders.